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Solstice

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Jim and Blair lay on the deck of a small fishing boat, soaking in the weak winter rays as they bobbed up and down in the Ionian Sea.

"Okay, I promised I wouldn't ask 'til we got here," Jim murmured lazily, "but why did Naomi want us to come to Corfu in December? Not that I'm complaining."

"To enjoy an authentic Brumalia festival," Blair answered. He turned over and rearranged himself more comfortably against Jim.

"And Brumalia is...?"

"One of the many Solstice celebrations; granted one of the less well-known ones. It's similar to Saturnalia and celebrates many of the same things."

"Which are?" Jim asked, but really only to make conversation.  After more than a decade of life with the Sandburgs, he was familiar with any number of cultural festivals, both common and obscure. 

"Oh, the usual. A good harvest. The chance to rest and revel once the harvest was in. Sacrifices to the gods to keep the good life good. With all the vineyards out here, goats were the usual sacrifice. Because the goats would eat the vines, they often got the short stick. And then got put on a spit," Blair chuckled.

Jim smiled. He loved listening to Blair in "professor" mode. "So what's the game plan?"

"We're going into town to meet with Naomi's friends. The food and spirits will be varied and plentiful. We'll be expected to eat and drink until we burst and then dance until we drop."

"Sounds great. What do we need to bring to this bacchanalia?"

Blair grinned. "Naomi's arranged everything. We'll pick up wine, olives, cheese, bread, honey and some killer pastries from the local shops on the way. All we need to take from here are our dancing shoes."

"But I still don't understand why we're here. We could have wine and cheese and dance on the Solstice at home. It's less expensive and we could sleep in our own bed when we're done."

"Two reasons. One is that skinny-dipping in the Adriatic is more comfortable than in the Pacific in December."

"Okay, I'll give her that one," Jim conceded, laughing. "And the other reason?"

"She thought it would be a romantic way to celebrate our 10th anniversary."

Jim swallowed in a suddenly-tight throat and pulled Blair in for a hug. "I knew there was a reason I loved my mother-in-law."

"And because she had me, right?" Blair asked, running his hand up and down Jim's still-impressive abs.

"Babe, you could roll up all the great things Naomi has done and all that she will do in her life and together they don't hold a candle to you. You are definitely the best thing she ever did."

Now it was Blair who was having trouble swallowing. "Happy anniversary, Jim."

"Happy anniversary, Blair." Jim punctuated the sentiment with one of his patented all-consuming kisses. "Now, do we have time for some of that skinny-dipping?"